Shopping for a home and school district

For couples without children or even single people shopping for a home, the decision of which neighborhoods to consider is often based on the home itself. For parents, the home matters, but there are additional things to consider as well, like schools.

Parents want the best education possible for their children, and that often weighs heavily on their decisions when shopping for a home. Young parents often cannot afford to live in communities with the most highly rated school districts, however. But, there are a few tricks of the trade parents can employ when simultaneously shopping for a home and a school district.

•* Select a region, not necessarily a town, in which to begin a search. As mentioned, many young parents find homes within their targeted school district beyond their financial reach. However, parents of young children should consider looking for homes within a broader area. While neighboring districts might not score as well, if those scores are within reason, particularly regarding the elementary schools, parents should consider looking in those districts. Properties might be more affordable, and by the time children are older, parents might be able to afford moving to the town in which they originally hoped to live. In addition, buying a first home close to that district won’t require much uprooting when it comes time to move, allowing kids to keep their friends and remain relatively familiar with their surroundings.

•* Consider new developments. Newer developments sprouted up across the country around the turn of the century. Much of that was thanks to the housing boom. But new homes can rejuvenate a community, leading to better schools as a result. This is especially noteworthy to parents of infants. Parents of infants may very well witness the local school district’s ratings skyrocket by the time their child is ready to enroll in school. In general, the younger a child is, the more likely that child is to benefit down the road from a community on its way up.

• Consider lowering price range for a home. Parents who have a given price range for a home (i.e., $300,000) might want to lower that price range if the school districts within that range are subpar. By lowering their target range, parents can then use the savings on their home for other things, including private school for their kids. If the price one pays on a nice home can be considerably less, that means more funds for private school education, which can be beneficial for the children.

• Look near larger cities. Suburbs of larger cities can be very expensive communities in which to find a home. However, larger cities tend to attract more educated workers who then pass on the importance of education to their own children. As a result, such suburbs often boast better school districts and higher graduation rates. In addition, suburbs’ proximity to big cities allows parents and kids to take advantage of all of the cultural opportunities offered by many bigger cities. While parents might not find the most home for their money, their children might get a better and more wellrounded education.

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